Printer ink cartridges

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Ink cartridge types

Ink jet

Is this toxic?- At the California waste management site, each manufacturer's cartridges are listed separately and each has a Material Data Sheet. I checked out the color cartridge for my printer HP 722c. It lists several substances that can cause skin and eye irritation, several that can cause respiratory irritation if inhaled and several that can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and others that can cause kidney or liver damage if ingested. But in conclusion the potential health effects are listed as:

  • Potential routes of overexposure to this product are skin and eye contact.
  • Inhalation of vapor and ingestion are not expected to be significant routes of exposure for this product under normal use conditions.
  • Complete toxicity data are not available for this specific formulation
  • Also the Environmental precautions are: Do not let product enter drains. Do not flush into surface water or sanitary sewer system.

Laser toner

Is this toxic? Again at the California waste management site, I referred to the Material Data Sheet for the toner preparation that is used in HP LaserJet 5P/5MP/6P/6MP series printers. The results:

  • Unlikely to cause skin irritation.
  • Eye contact may cause transient slight irritation
  • Inhalation: Minimal respiratory tract irritation may occur with exposure to large amounts of toner dust. Prolonged inhalation of excessive amounts of any dust may cause lung damage. Use of this product as intended does not result in inhalation of excessive amounts of dust.
  • Ingestion: Low acute toxicity. Ingestion is a minor route of entry for intended use of this product.
  • None of the ingredients have been classified as carcinogens according to EU, IARC, MAK, NTP, OSHA or ACGIH.
  • This product is not classified as hazardous according to OSHA CFR 1910.1200 or EU Directive

Ink Sticks

  • NEW *, (Xerox solid ink)
  • Less waste than color laser printers with no cartridges to dispose of and far less packaging to add to landfills
  • Non-toxic ink is safe to handle by even small children
  • Recycled paper of any kind can be used with the same high-quality results
  • Fewer CO2 emissions and less fuel is used from shipping because solid ink packages are smaller and lighter than toner cartridges
  • Less energy is used to manufacture solid ink because of the simplicity of the design


  • Use a print setting that uses less ink (i.e. draft)
  • Use "Print Selection" to print only what you need.
  • Print to a a pdf
  • Green Print software ... helps to reduce the amount of ink (e.g. eliminates ads in printing...optimizes the print layout. Software is free.
  • Use printer friendly version option on pages.
  • Xerox has several printers that use ink sticks instead of dry toner (laser) or liquid (inkjet). These machines start at $700. Claims to produce 90% less waste than a typical color laser printer.
  • Soy-based ink...lower toxicity (Soyprint for laser printers)
  • Reduce printing...which reduces ink and paper...e.g. use lap tops, electronic attachments, project image on the wall, make an audio file out of it...listen on iPod.)


  • buy re-manufactured cartridges - need to find reliable supplier, cost savings ( internet sources: Toner cartridge depot, Atlantic Inkjet / local sources: check Woodward store)
  • Refill ink jet cartridges yourself with refill kit - cost savings (How to instructions)
  • Some Walgreens have a printer cartridge refill service. Their on-line site lists the cartridges they will refill. Currently not available for Canon or Epson. The price is $10 for black and $15 for color. Walgreens


  • ship empty cartridge back to manufacturer (some provide shipping label and package with the purchase)other internet sources
  • Return to a retail store that will recycle them: Office Depot, Staples gives you $3.00 off a purchase or ream of paper
  • IHM's are participating in a recycling program (Empties4cash) that pays for recycling inkjet cartridges generated over $3,700 worth of revenue since its inception in July of 2003.


  • No print Friday
  • Cost of printing
  • Saves time not to print...walking ...centralized printer


  • Is one printer less cost to print than another...large versus small?